To help develop talented, diverse community leaders, Kaiser Permanente and the American Public Health Association award 13 paid fellowships.
As we emerge from the global pandemic, the lingering impact on health care is profound. On a daily basis, our public health workforce sees this firsthand: the long-standing health, economic, and social inequities that persist in our communities.
There is a great need to strengthen and diversify the public health workforce to bring culturally competent services, interventions, and programs to the way public health is delivered.
To meet that need, Kaiser Permanente and APHA, the American Public Health Association, established the Community Health Leadership Program in 2021.
The program offers one-year, full-time, paid fellowships for Master of Public Health graduates.
The fellowship program helps create strong, diverse public health leaders prepared to take on the factors that affect health. Each fellowship provides work experience for each recipient in an area of interest and where progress is needed.
People selected for the program receive a one-year work assignment. They work either for Kaiser Permanente or a key community partner. In their roles, they address the social factors that affect health in underserved communities.
Fellows develop their leadership skills. They also receive mentoring and networking opportunities.
“It’s exciting to see how this program has grown since it began in 2021. It brings much-needed voices and experiences focused on health equity,” said Stephanie Ledesma, vice president of community health programs for Kaiser Permanente. “I’m proud to welcome the third group of fellows. I look forward to the ways their contributions, through the fellowship and beyond, will shape a healthier future for all.”
To identify fellowship recipients, Kaiser Permanente and APHA partnered with public universities. Applications for the 2024 to 2025 fellowship program open in November 2023.
Felicia Boodram, MPH, Georgia State University
Placement site: Healthcare Anchor Network
Felicia Boodram is passionate about public health research. She feels driven to improve the well-being of others, specifically in the West Indian community. Boodram was a research intern at Kaiser Permanente. In that role, she taught research participants about healthy habits. She also provided guidance and support for people participating in a diabetes prevention program. She worked on projects at the Center for Leadership in Disability across multiple counties in Georgia to help build and expand mental health programs and services for school-age youth.
Cameron Brown, MPH, Morgan State University
Placement site: APHA
Cameron Brown’s journey to a career in public health is deeply rooted in his unwavering commitment to positively impacting the lives of others. While studying at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Brown worked to assess community needs in West Baltimore. He also instilled the next generation with a love for science by teaching biology at the Walter Reed Army Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland. Brown’s ultimate goals are to improve health equity and help more people with their social needs. In pursuit of these goals, he worked with colleagues to develop a credit education program. The program teaches people how to manage money so they can make informed financial decisions.
Kelsey “Nani” Kamanani Conklin, MPH, University of California, Berkeley
Placement site: Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy
Originally from Oahu and Maui, Hawaii, Kelsey “Nani” Kamanani is passionate about ensuring people have access to affordable, nutritious food. She supported the development of a food system policy plan for Hawaii. As part of the plan, she designed and evaluated native, plant-based meal programs for hospitals. She also researched the relationship between socioeconomic status and physical activity among women between the ages of 15 and 49. She hopes to continue working on data-specific projects and health policy advocacy. She especially wants to help Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and other Indigenous populations.
Hiba Elkhatib, MPH, University of California, Berkeley
Placement site: Kaiser Permanente, National Office of Community Health
Throughout her studies, Hiba Elkhatib dedicated her time to advancing health equity, social justice, and the representation of locally and globally marginalized groups. She was recognized as a Public Health Changemaker by the Berkeley School of Public Health due to her equity and social justice work. Elkhatib is the founder of Palestinian Public Health, an organization dedicated to global equity, advocacy, and mentorship. She’s researched the structural and generational impact of inequities — and the factors that prevent marginalized communities worldwide from living a healthy life. In the future, Elkhatib hopes to use her skills to influence public policy, build community-based programs that foster community resilience, and promote long-term solutions.
Phylicia Hancle, MPH, Georgia State University
Placement Site: Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Phylicia Hancle is a dedicated professional with a passion for public health and education. While in school, she spent time in Tanzania. She hosted a pop-up health clinic in a Tanzanian village, providing essential preventive screenings to people in need. She’s also worked for Teach for America as a STEM educator and as a grant evaluation coordinator for Georgia’s opioid response program. Her academic and professional experiences have helped Hancle better understand the challenges faced by communities that have fewer resources. Her experiences have also helped her understand the importance of implementing evidence-based strategies to promote health and well-being.
Alaa Hasan, MPH, University of Washington
Placement site: U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
Alaa Hasan is a second-generation Palestinian immigrant who is dedicated to improving health in our communities. She’s collaborated with community-based organizations to implement programs that address social needs for students of color, refugees, and immigrants. As a volunteer and advocacy program manager, Hasan helped people without housing in Washington state. She worked on innovative solutions to homelessness and advocated for policies that address the needs of people without homes. Hasan served as a program consultant for Washington’s Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance. In that role, she contributed to innovative programs benefiting refugees and immigrants. Her experiences have taught her the importance of listening to community voices to improve public health for all.
Mariah Jiles, MPH, University of California, Berkeley
Placement site: Tubman Center for Health and Freedom
Mariah Jiles is a passionate public health professional working toward a just future. She especially wants to improve the health and well-being of underserved populations, with a special focus on Black and African American communities. During graduate school, Jiles worked on a study researching an income supplement program for pregnant people. The California program was the first in the country to provide cash supplements to pregnant Black people and Pacific Islanders. Most recently, she worked as an epidemiologist at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation. In that role, she examined access to family planning services in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Ayan Mohamed, MPH, University of Washington
Placement site: Grady Health System
Ayan Mohamed is dedicated to working with underserved communities to dismantle the barriers they face. During her studies, she worked to provide medical services to communities without access to care. She also helped on a research project examining the experiences of Black women during the Jim Crow era. The project looked at the oppression women faced due to their gender and race. She’s also volunteered with the Somali Health Board. Most recently, she worked on a lead and toxic education housing action project.
Tyra Parrish, MPH, University of California, Berkeley
Placement site: Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States
Tyra Parrish is the first in her immediate family to receive a bachelor’s degree. As a graduate student, Parish was heavily involved in advocating and uplifting the voices of underrepresented and underserved students. Her student activism at Berkeley led to her receiving the Leadership in Graduate Diversity Award and the Henrik L. Blum Award for Distinguished Social Action. She is passionate about eliminating health disparities in communities of color and reimagining care delivery to historically underserved communities. The mantra she lives by is, “Lift as you climb.” It highlights the importance of reaching back and staying connected to your community to help current and future generations.
Meldrick Ravida, MPH, University of Hawaii at Mānoa
Placement site: Kaiser Permanente of Hawaii
Meldrick Ravida was the first in his family to attend college. He is passionate about understanding how social factors impact health in communities of color. During his graduate studies, he analyzed how common ongoing health conditions were among sexual- and gender-diverse populations at risk for severe COVID-19 in Hawaii. Ravida’s research interests include community health, sexual and gender minority health, mental health, health equity, health communications, cancer epidemiology, and legal epidemiology. He interned at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. There, he examined social and behavioral perspectives on skin cancer risk and sun safety among people of different ethnicities. Ravida is currently working on publications related to historical trauma among Native Hawaiians.
Sylvia Rivera, MPH, Portland State University
Placement site: Kaiser Permanente of the Northwest
Sylvia Rivera is an Afro-Puerto Rican storyteller, advocate, and registered nurse. Before getting her master’s degree in public health, she worked at a level 1 trauma center. During her graduate training, she worked on a Youth Participatory Action Research decolonizing data project. Decolonizing supports communities to collect, analyze and share information about their own lived experiences with policymakers. She’s currently working on 2 projects. The first is a public health poetry project with youth of color. The second illuminates the importance of music within public health training to advance health equity. Rivera is passionate about public health initiatives that engage the creative arts. She feels they help center the voices and stories of marginalized people.
Lina Truong, MPH, University of Washington
Placement site: Kaiser Permanente Washington
After her undergraduate studies, Lina Truong worked at a community-based organization. She provided case management and outpatient mental health counseling in Cantonese to Asian Americans. She also led the organization’s efforts to advance equity, inclusion, and diversity. She’s passionate about improving mental health and health equity among Asian American populations. She’s researched how to increase access to care while reducing mental health stigma. While at the University of Washington, Truong worked at the school’s Health Promotion and Research Center. At the center, she helped adapt a cognitive therapy program based on mindfulness to meet the needs of older Korean adults.
Ellana Valladares, MPH, University of Colorado Anschutz
Placement site: CDC Foundation
As a daughter of immigrant parents, Ellana Valladares has been aware of the importance of access to health care and promoting health equity. She’s worked in various settings — community-based programs, government agencies, and clinical care. Her work has included testing residential well water for rural communities in Gaston County, North Carolina. She’s also enrolled Spanish-speaking patients in affordable care plans at a low-cost clinic. Looking ahead, Valladares hopes to advocate for equitable and systemic changes in health care and public services by strengthening research, public policies, and community-building efforts.